What We Ate Wednesday: Happy Birthday To My Love!

April 22nd, 2014 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


My honey had a birthday! The first of his that we celebrated together, which made it a very special birthday indeed.

And it just so happened that his very favorite band, from way back in college, who had been broken up for like, over 15 years, had just announced out of the blue a few months ago that they were back together, and releasing a new album, and oh by the way they’de be playing a show in Portland on his birthday weekend.

I knew I was saving those airline miles for a good reason. Serendipity!

So on his birthday, on April 11th, we flew to Portland for a long weekend. And I’ll share the majority of what we did ate there coming up real soon, but today, let’s just focus on the important stuff. My honey had a birthday!

Here’s how it went:


Puppy piles and lots of snuggles, first thing in the morning. Ridiculous bed head all around.

Our flight was out of LAX but wasn’t until the evening, which was good, because we had lots to do. But unfortunately, I was busy wrangling Waits and getting him ready for school, so I didn’t photograph our morning eats. It was most likely soy yogurt (um, hello, Whole Soy is baaaack!) and coffee for Jeremy, oatmeal with peanut butter and strawberry jam with a side of oat milk and chlorella tablets for Waits, and plain coffee for me.

Jeremy and I both had haircuts scheduled for that morning . . . it seems to be becoming a birthday tradition with us. His was at 9 and mine was at 10:30. So he was out of the house by 8:45, which gave me just enough time to drop Waits off at preschool and then set up Jeremy’s surprise birthday present at his house, where he would find it after his hair cut.

So seriously, what do you do when you love someone like mad but you don’t have very much money, so you can’t buy them something grand that might reflect the magnitude of your adoration? (like, say, an electric sports car . . . sorry babe.)

Well, I tried to go with “grand gesture.” And I think it turned out pretty neat.


I hand-folded an origami sphere for each year of his life, and hid a little treasure inside each one.

And friends, let me tell you something: if you’re going for maximum impact, I think this is an excellent approach. Jeremy was pretty gobsmacked. But be warned! My man turned 42 years old, which for me meant nearly 20 solid hours just for folding paper. Literally. I just want you to know what you’re getting into, if you’re ever inspired to attempt something similar. I started ~8 weeks out to make sure I had enough time. And it was so incredibly worth it, of course! I hope that goes without saying. I loved doing this for him and I LOVED that it made him feel so loved. That was the whole point.


Aren’t they pretty? If you want to give it a go, there’s a great tutorial here. It’s the octahedron and uses standard sonobe units.


With both of us sporting new haircuts, and with our bags finally packed, our houses all cleaned, and our clean-out-the-crisper juice securely stowed in a glass to-go cup, we could kiss the Harley dog goodbye and finally hit the road. By then it was almost 2 pm, whoops!

But don’t let the fancy juice fool you – I had been snacking on Snap Pea Crisps all morning to stave off the hunger pangs. Man, those things are addictive like crack! The juice, much healthier and addictive in its own right, was a beautiful blend of beet, carrot, kale, parsley, orange, apple, and ginger. And golly it was good.

But juice and crisps does not a full belly make. So we stopped in LA for some emergency Veggie Grill, eaten in the car on the way to the airport, because of course by this point we were somehow totally running late.


I got the B-Wing Salad, sub buffalo-style tempeh for the buffalo chickin’ which makes it gluten free, add extra buffalo sauce, because buffalo. That salad is my JAM.

Jeremy got the Savory Kale Caesar, add buffalo chickin’, because BUFFALO.

Oh yeah, and we totally made it to our flight on time. Crisis averted.


Birthday boy!

First stop upon landing, still in the PDX terminal. A wee espresso shot for each of us. The night was still young!

Obviously, I lived in Portland for 5 years so I had lots of amazing people and lots of delicious things and lots of wonderful places that I just couldn’t wait to show Jeremy. But for our first night? My sissy of course! My dearest sister (well, step sister, but whatever) picked us up from the airport and whisked us away to one of my favorite places of all: the Bye and Bye, an all-vegan bar with a most excellent late night menu.


My sister is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She is basically the embodiment of pure magic.


Like I said, the Bye and Bye has an awesome menu, so along with our voluminous libations, we grabbed some dinner grub.


For me, the Eastern Bowl with nooch-breaded tofu, steamed broccoli, brown rice, and spicy peanut ginger sauce. Add avocado, duh.

I always get this dish when I come to the Bye and Bye. I know, I know, I need to branch out. But it’s sooo perfect!


With lots of sriracha.

Jeremy got the meatball sub (not gluten-free) and a side of brussels sprouts. I can vouch for the brussels, and he said the sammie was AWESOME.


We ate, we drank, we were very very merry. It was the perfect start to our Portlanstravaganza vegan vacation. And of course, a very happy birthday!


I love you baby! I’m so very glad you were born!

♥ ♥ ♥

  • Britt!

    Hi, Sayward… This is “Britt!” from waaaaaaaay back…. I haven’t commented since you’ve come back from your “blogging sabbatical,” which I’m so glad you returned from!!! But since I saw you (literally) just posted this (cuz five minutes ago, it wasn’t here), I thought I’d say a quick hi, and I’m still following your epic life of blogulary (yes, I just made that up…?)! I LOVE YOU!!!! And I’m so glad you had a delightful and safe trip to and from P-land! Not to sound weird, but I have so much to share with you (heck, I “known” you for over four years now!), and I kind of want to write you a real letter, because leaving a novel of a comment can’t possibly be cool… No matter! We’re in California, too (Acton, my tiny hometown, off the 14), and our boy will be turning 4 in May (Waits and he would be Peter Pan/pirate pals), and we just got chickens, and we’ve been container gardening (which combats the voracious vermin and lifeless desert soil…), oooo, and I’m trying to construct a potato tower… OH… And I LOVE LOVE LOVE TOM WAITS!!!!! Oh, and we’re probably moving to Washington/Portland, like, in 20 days, or something crazy like that… Whew! So yikes! Maybe we’ll run into each other sometime! If we do, I might seriously tackle you and smother you with kisses, and you’ll be like, “WTF?!?!” It’s just me! It’s just crazy, cuz when I first discovered “BonazaiAphrodite,” I was in Colorado (pregnant), and you were in Portland (also pregnant), and now we’re both in SoCal (again… With offspring this time around), but now we might be moving to Portland… It’s all just too bizarre. K, but that’s all! I was just inspired to write and share my love with someone I’ve never met…! And tell you I’m still with you! OH…! And HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!! All the best, Sweetums! Later! Hang loose and shaka shaka! Oh yeah… Happy Birthday, Jeremy! ; )> 42 *IS* the answer to life, you know, so may this year be filled with greatness! All the best!!!

  • http://thiskindchoice.com/ Emma – thiskindchoice.com

    I looove the origami spheres! I made my mum 40 origami stars for her birthday a while back, but they were a LOT smaller, so kudos to you for your persistence (and planning). I think gestures are so much more special than big presents anyway.

    Looks like you guys had a great time :)

    PS. I also love your hair at the moment Sayward!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Well this is the best comment ever! And an excellent excuse for a study break. ;-)

    It’s so good to hear from you! Of course I remember you and it’s so, so awesome to know you’re still reading. I often wonder about the “old timers”, haha, from way back in the old days of this blog. It’s so cool to know that at least some of you are still following along!

    So you live in Acton? Near the sanctuary? It’s a bummer you’re moving because I’m hoping to organize some group sanctuary trips this summer! But of course, if you’re moving to P-town that’s no bummer at all. YOU WILL LOVE IT! Its the most amazing, most creative type-supportive, most vegan friendly and veg FAMILY friendly, most wonderful city in America. For reals. (Except the rain which drove me away, but hopefully you’ll have better luck with that – some people don’t mid it)

    Anyway. so great to hear from you and yay for Peter Pan/pirate kiddos! Wishing you ALL the best with the move and all that follows! ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Sarah Sylvester

    Happy birthday to him!

    Also, your hair is divine. And you just look really healthy and happy.

  • Lynn

    What an awesome Birthday Idea! I haven’t done origami in ages, but this looks so fun! My husband is turning 34 next month, maybe I will give it a shot! One question, if it’s not too personal to ask, what sorts of small gifts would fit inside the origami cubes? Just looking for ideas :) Happy Belated Birthday, Jeremy!

  • vegyogini

    What an excellent way to celebrate! He must have felt very loved indeed to come home to all those vibrant, treasure-filled spheres.

  • Elizabeth

    Wow, do you ever look HAWT!!! I also love your beautiful birthday present idea. I have always believed (ever since the Christmas when I was 8 and decided that everyone on my list was getting homemade potpourri or something fashioned out of branches and various growths collected outside) that a gift should not be an obligation, but rather something heartfelt and thoughtful for someone you love. My boyfriend has given me very few material things, but he has always created magical experiences for me that I’ll cherish much longer and more deeply than a pair of earrings.

  • Jules

    Awww, I like, I like, I like! l like that it was Jeremy’s birthday and you gave him such awesome gifts! I like that you had a great weekend together! And… I like your haircuts! Happy Birthday (again), dear Brother-in-law! Love and hugs!

  • rebecca

    Hi Sayward :) Is that a tall mason jar that you used for a travel cup???? Can you point me to where I can find one? The jar I like to use now doesn’t fit in my car’s cup holder and it looks like yours would be perfect. Thank you!!

  • Jen Hernandez

    So I saw Jeremy’s instagram pictures of the origami presents a couple weeks ago and knew I had to steal your idea! My husband’s birthday is this coming Monday (the 28th) and he’s also turning 42. Coincidence? So I found the tutorial on youtube, by chance the same one you linked to tonight and set to work. For the next ten days or so, I worked on the origami pieces and searched high and low for 42 tiny presents to put inside. Sadly I only made it to 25 of each before feeling like I didn’t want to do this anymore. Once I decided I wasn’t going to make any more, I couldn’t wait to give them to him. So last night, even though it was 5 days before his real birthday, I revealed all the presents! He was SO surprised. I think he was really touched and pretty baffled that I had made these since I’ve never done any origami before.
    Anyway, the point is, your awesome idea inspired me and made my husband tear up and feel really loved and special. So yay! Thank you!

  • kittee berns

    This really is the best comment ever! You’re swell, Britt! You are too, Sayward!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I love the origami star idea, that sounds beautiful! And thanks for the hair love. I sure do love a good blow-out. ;-)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww thank you Sarah! I feel healthier and happier than I have in AGES, so it’s awesome to hear that it shows. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Lynn! Not too personal at all! The treasures were actually the hardest part of the project! To find something small enough, and cheap enough (remember there were 42 of them, so I put a $5 max on each one) and still a GOOD gift that he would want? Yeah, that’s hard!

    Jeremy likes to cook so I did a lot of cute little kitchen stuff, like ceramic measuring spoons, a super mini grater, a collapsible funnel, and even a miniature mortar and pestle! I also did easy things like organic mints, raw lip balm, that kind of stuff. A small soy candle. Incense. A tiny bottle of basil-infused olive oil. A pumice stone. Stuff like that.

    I also had an idea of buying a bunch of vintage poetry books on Etsy, and putting a vintage love poem in each one. ♥

    Hope that helps! You should totally do it, but seriously – start now! That folding takes foreeeever, haha.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks lady!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, thank you Elizabeth! I agree that homemade, heartfelt gifts are always my favorites. They’re harder, but sooo worth!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yay, thank you Julie! Love and hugs back to you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Rebecca – yup, it’s a super tall canning jar and I LOVE it! Jeremy and I bought a case of them when we made our homemade infusions last summer, and we use them ALL the time. And yup, they fit in car drink holders! They also fit the Cuppow lid. ;-)

    You can grab a case here.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh my gosh! Jen, I love this story! That is SO COOL that you made 25 spheres and gave them to your husband. I bet you made his year. ♥


  • Brie

    Bye and Bye is officially on my list of to do in Portland if/when I get to visit. By the way I love your hair!

  • rebecca

    yay!! Thank you so much for your response–I appreciate it so much and have to get some :)

  • Britt!

    Awwwwwwwwww…! It’s swell of you to mention it, Kittee Berns…! ; )> Thanks…!!!

  • Britt!

    Breaks are good! Glad to help! Anytime!
    Ah, yes, Acton… The Sanctuary Motherland. There’s gotta be at least 92 on our street alone…! … Okay, that might be a *bit* of an exaggeration, but for real, we’ve got Shambala, Animal Acres (the Farm Sanctuary), the Gentle Barn (technically, that’s Agua Dulce, but who are we kidding, we’re all the same), the Pitbulls ‘n’ Parolees place… the Mastiff rescue, the wolf rescue, plus probably countless others that I’m not even aware of!!!… Dude, they’re everywhere! And I kid you not, our neighbors just put up over 60 kennels for ANOTHER dog rescue kennel place…! So come on over! Anytime! We’ve got it all! Plus, Vasquez Rocks is the coolest place on earth! And I hope you’re serious about planning some Sanctuary trips, because, HELLO…!!!! We’ve got effin’ ELEPHANTS running around off the freeway!!! ELEPHANTS!!!! And TIGERS! And LIONS!!!! Psh, Africa can wait… Let’s support our state! Am I right?! I actually met “Hooch” from “Turner and Hooch”… mmmmm, maybe at Shambala? I was pretty young, so I could be wrong; it could have been another movie ranch/training/sanctuary place. The point is… GET HERE!!!!! Waits (and you… Oh, okay, and Jeremy, too) would LOVE it!!! EVERYBODY, COME!!!!! You’re ALL welcome!!! Woo Hoo!!! Party in A-Town!!!! Whoot whoot!!!!
    Oh, and thanks for the Good Move Wishes… Who knows when or what we’re really going to do… I live in a constant state of limbo, but the well wishes are appreciated! The rain/climate deters us/ME immensely, too… But I figure, eh, better gardening, perhaps??? Sad face, though– the recent winds have DEVISTATED our garden… : *( All except our radishes… And thank God Luca (our lil’ tyke) LOVES his radishes! Alas, all is not lost. But his sunflower, and peas, and baby tomatoes…!!! All gone… :* ( Oh how we whimpered… Even our lettuce has been torn to shreds… {sigh}. All a learning experience. Hey, and if we really ARE moving, it won’t make it so hard to leave, if our garden is in smithereens, right??!
    Hope ya’ll haven’t blown away…!

  • Pingback: More Than Just Vacation Photos: Sayward’s Definitive “Must-Eat” Portland Vegan Dining Guide, Part I | Bonzai Aphrodite

  • Kelly H.

    What a positively BRILLIANT idea for a present!! I am rather gobsmacked as well. You’re so creative and sweet… :)